Facebook, the social media giant, will rebrand itself next week with a new name in an attempt to separate itself from a succession of embarrassing controversies.
Facebook, the company’s original social networking site, will most likely maintain its name, but Facebook Inc., which now owns Instagram and WhatsApp, will rebrand.
According to Verge, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to disclose the parent company’s new name during the company’s annual Connect conference on October 28, although it might be announced sooner.
The shift is anticipated to place Facebook’s social networking app as one of several products overseen by a parent business that would also manage Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and other services.
It will also assist to protect the company’s primary social media brand from potential negative press, as recent whistleblower evidence from former employee Frances Haugen managed to taint Facebook and Instagram’s reputations.
The decision may also help the company’s reputation, which has taken a beating in recent years.
It was accused of aiding the dissemination of false information during the 2016 US presidential election, triggering a slew of legislative investigations and regulatory reforms, including the inclusion of third-party fact-checkers and increased transparency in political advertising.
The Federal Trade Commission penalized Facebook $5 billion in 2019 for enabling Cambridge Analytica, a British corporation, to scrape data from 87 million US users for political advertising purposes.
Some of the advertisements were used to aid former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Most recently, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen released a trove of documents dubbed the ‘Facebook Files’ to the Wall Street Journal.
The internal research suggests that Facebook promoted divisiveness as a way to keep people on the site. It also showed that the company knew Instagram harmed young girls’ body image and even tried to brainstorm ways to appeal to toddlers by ‘exploring playdates as a growth lever.’
Haugen, who anonymously filed eight complaints about her former employer with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, told 60 Minutes earlier this month: ‘Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety.’
She claimed that a 2018 change prioritizing divisive posts, which made Facebook users argue, was found to boost user engagement.
That in turn helped bosses sell more online ads that have seen the social media giant’s value pass $1 trillion.
‘You are forcing us to take positions that we don’t like, that we know are bad for society. We know if we don’t take those positions, we won’t win in the marketplace of social media,’ Haugen said.
She also blamed Facebook for spurring the January 6 Capitol riot.
Haugen, who spent two years at Facebook after working at Google, Yelp, and Pinterest, testified in Congress on October 5.
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